graphic artists in the arab countries

Cartooning Syria

Political cartoons are characterized by direct or hidden criticism of governments or regimes. They denounce socio-political or social grievances and reveal injustices or contradictions. In most cases, they speak a universal language and the essential message reaches the viewer without words.

Cartoons arouse emotions - in addition to the amusement that can be a whole range of emotions as they tell stories that move people. The imagery of a good cartoon is often more concise and burns deeper into the individual or collective memory than a critical text. Crossing language barriers, cartoons now also spread via social media in rapid, barely controllable speed. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why cartoonists are among the first to resort to state censorship - or worse - in authoritarian regimes.

In Syria, political cartoons have long been a contradiction in terms, because political freedom of expression has been controlled by the Ba'ath Party since 1963 with repressive methods. Criticizing the rulers was and is a taboo in Syria. Therefore, it is not surprising that in 2011 the desire for freedom, especially for freedom of expression, was a major reason for the rebellion in Syria. At the beginning of the uprising, many cartoons of Syrian artists were denounced, denouncing abuses such as corruption or torture. They were also known about foreign newspapers and social networks in Syria.

Syrian cartoonists, activists and journalists, however, have been increasingly persecuted and arrested, many have "disappeared" since their arrest. Others had to flee and now work in exile. For seven years, they have not tired of pointing out the injustices, repressions and human rights violations committed in Syria by the regime, the IS or other parties.

In cooperation with the Syrian Dreams Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation will be showing the exhibition "Cartooning Syria" for the first time in Berlin, in which works by various cartoonists, above all from Syria, can be seen.

The exhibition will be opened on 24.09.2018 at 19:00 with a vernissage. Some artists will be present in person this evening and will be available for an exchange with the visitors.

Vernissage on 24.09.2018 from 19:00 to 21:00

Dr. Antonie Nord (Heinrich Böll Foundation) in conversation with
Ronald Bos (Foundation Syrian Dreams),
Anna Gabai (cartoon expert) and
Fares Garabet (Syrian cartoonist)
The conversation is translated consecutively in German-Arabic.